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Rodrigo Duterte Fast Facts

Here is a look at the life of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.


Birth date: March 28, 1945

Birth place: Maasin, Southern Leyte, Philippines

Birth name: Rodrigo Roa Duterte

Father: Vicente Duterte, lawyer and politician

Mother: Soledad (Roa) Duterte, teacher

Marriage: Elizabeth Zimmerman (annulled in 2000)

Children: with Elizabeth Zimmerman: Paolo, Sebastian and Sara; with Honeylet Avanceña: Veronica

Education: Lyceum of the Philippines University, B.A.,1968; San Beda College, J.D.,1972

Religion: Roman Catholic

Other Facts

Duterte was mayor of Davao City for seven terms and 22 years, although not consecutively.

His father was the governor of unified Davao and a member of President Ferdinand Marcos’ cabinet.

Duterte’s daughter, Sara Duterte, is the mayor of Davao City.

Once compared himself to Adolf Hitler, saying he would kill millions of drug addicts.

Cursed Pope Francis for traffic problems caused by the pontiff’s visit to the Philippines.

For decades, he has allegedly been tied to “death squads” in Davao City.

Has declared that he will urge Congress to restore the death penalty by hanging in the Philippines.


1977-1986 – Special counsel, and then city prosecutor of Davao City.

1986-1988 – Vice-Mayor of Davao City.

1988-1998 – Mayor of Davao City.

1995 – After Flor Contemplacion, a Filipino domestic worker, is hanged in Singapore for murdering her co-worker in 1991, Duterte leads protestors in burning the Singapore flag.

1998-2001 – Becomes a congressman representing Davao City’s 1st District.

2001-2010 – Mayor of Davao City.

April 6, 2009 – Human Rights Watch publishes the findings of its “Davao Death Squad” investigation, scrutinizing more than two dozen killings that occurred in 2007 and 2008. Findings show no direct link to the killings and Duterte but do provide evidence of a complicit relationship between government officials and members of the DDS.

May 24, 2015 – He vows to execute 100,000 criminals and dump their bodies into Manila Bay.

April 2016 – Duterte comes under fire after making a controversial comment during a campaign rally about a 1989 prison riot that led to the rape and murder of a female missionary. According to a CNN Philippines translation of the video, he says, “they raped her, they lined up to her. I was angry she was raped, yes that was one thing. But she was so beautiful, I thought the mayor should have been first. What a waste.” His party issues an apology, but Duterte later disowns it.

May 30, 2016 – The Philippine Congress officially declares Duterte the winner of the May 9th presidential election after the official count is completed.

June 30, 2016 – Takes office as president.

August 5, 2016 – In a speech, he claims he told US Secretary of State John Kerry that US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg is a “gay son of a bitch.”

September 7, 2016 – Duterte and US President Barack Obama meet briefly in Laos while attending the yearly Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit. The two were scheduled to meet prior for bilateral talks regarding the South China Sea, but Obama canceled their meeting as Duterte’s fiery rhetoric escalated.

September 15, 2016 – A witness, Edgar Matobato, testifies before a Philippine Senate committee, claiming he is a member of Duterte’s alleged “Davao Death Squad,” and that the Philippine president gave orders to kill drug dealers, rapists and thieves. The committee was set up to probe alleged extrajudicial killings in the three months since Duterte became president.

October 4, 2016 – The Philippines and the United States begin joint military exercises in Manila for what Duterte claims will be the final time under the decade-long landmark Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.

October 20, 2016 – Duterte announces at the PH-China Trade & Investment Forum, “In this venue I announce my separation from the US; militarily, [but] not socially, [and] economically.”

November 29, 2016 – Nine members of Duterte’s security team are injured after their convoy is hit by an explosive device in advance of a planned visit by the president to Marawi City.

December 12, 2016 – Admits to killing suspected criminals during his time as mayor of Davao City.

November 9, 2017 – Ahead of APEC meetings with regional leaders, Duterte tells a group of Filipino expatriates, in the central Vietnamese city of Da Nang, that he stabbed someone to death when he was 16.

November 13, 2017 – US President Donald Trump and Duterte “briefly” discussed human rights and the Philippines’ bloody war on drugs during their closed-door conversation, the White House announces. However, the spokesman for Duterte tells reporters that “human rights did not arise” during the meeting.

February 8, 2018 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) says it is opening a preliminary examination of the situation in the Philippines regarding extra-judicial killings. The examination “will analyze crimes allegedly committed … in the context of the ‘war on drugs’ campaign,” specifically since July 1, 2016. Duterte’s spokesman tells reporters that the president “welcomes this preliminary examination because he is sick and tired of being accused of the commission of crimes against humanity.”

December 5, 2018 – The ICC reports that they have a “reasonable basis to proceed with the preliminary examination” into the alleged extra-judicial killings of thousands of people since July 1, 2016.

March 17, 2019 – The Philippines officially leaves the ICC. The action, taken after a 12-month waiting period required by ICC statute, follows an initial announcement made March 14, 2018.

October 5, 2020 – Duterte reveals he has a chronic neuromuscular disease. In a speech in Moscow, he tells a crowd of Filipinos living in the Russian capital he had myasthenia gravis, which he describes as a “nerve malfunction,” reports CNN Philippines.

March 12, 2020 – Duterte places Metro Manila under community quarantine from March 15 to April 14 to contain the new coronavirus (COVID-19) spread in the metropolis.

March 23, 2020 – The Senate, in a 12-0 vote, approve a bill declaring the existence of a national emergency and granting Duterte additional powers to address the COVID-19 crisis. The additional powers will remain in effect for at least three months or until the state of calamity in the entire country is lifted.

Article Topic Follows: National-World

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